Facebook on Monday announced that they removed 687 Facebook Pages and accounts “associated with an IT Cell of the Indian National Congress (INC).”
Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, in a blog post said the removed Pages, Groups and accounts violated Facebook’s policies on coordinated inauthentic behaviour or spam.
“We are constantly working to detect and stop coordinated inauthentic behavior because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted,” Gleicher wrote.
The admins of the pages “posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate views, the INC and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”
“While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell,” he added.
These pages together spent around $39,000 USD for ads on Facebook, according to the statement.
They also removed 15 pages, including the page ‘The Indian Eye’ which were supporting BJP and Union government and criticising INC. These pages were “associated with an Indian IT firm, Silver Touch,” they said. Admins of these pages spent around $70,000 USD for ads on Facebook.
An investigation by Alt News had found that Narendra Modi’s official app promoted ‘The Indian Eye’ which promoted fake news. “The India Eye isn’t merely a propaganda account on NaMo App. Its activities are widespread in the online world, including a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and websites. In September last year, Alt News had chronicled its trysts with misinformation on social media,” the report reads.
It has to be noted that the page owner ‘Silver Touch’ firm is the developer of Narendra Modi mobile app.
Facebook has also removed 227 Pages and 94 accounts in India for violating policies against spam and misrepresentation. They removed another 103 Pages, Groups and accounts originated in Pakistan. “The individuals behind this activity used fake accounts to operate military fan Pages; general Pakistani interest Pages; Kashmir community Pages; and hobby and news Pages,” the statement.